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Peter Parker death (gasp!) roils Spider-Man fans. Why they're taking it hard.

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“To keep those characters fresh, [publishers] have to churn through new ideas pretty quickly, and they have to give readers the impression [that] big changes are happening … [so] every so often they drop a boulder in the pond and create waves just to keep people interested,” he says.

The decision to kill off Parker is intended to renew interest in the character and to create new story lines for the future, Dan Slott, writer of the last 70 issues of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” told The Associated Press Thursday. In the final issue, Spider-Man finally falls to longtime nemesis Doctor Octopus, known as Otto Octavius to his mother.

“This is an epic turn.… Every now and then, you have to shake it up," Mr. Slott said. "The reason Spider-Man is one of the longest-running characters is they always find a way to keep it fresh. Something to shake up the mix.” 

Parker’s story line involving his connection to his Aunt May, girlfriend Mary Jane Watson, and newspaper boss J. Jonah Jameson, plus his guilt over the death of his Uncle Ben, makes Parker more approachable than Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) and easier to relate to than Clark Kent (aka Superman). Those superheroes predate Spider-Man and his adventures. The Batman and Superman stories were connected to the plot-heavy pulp fiction of the time, whereas Spider-Man creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko concentrated more on character development, Salkowitz says.

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